Plants photographed elsewhere in Namibia (not on Kyffhäuser)
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Jamesbrittenia atropurpurea (Benth.) Hilliard subsp. pubescens Hilliard

Jamesbrittenia atropurpurea subsp pubescens

Flowers and leaves

Family: Scrophulariaceae
Full name: Jamesbrittenia atropurpurea (Benth.) Hilliard subsp. pubescens Hilliard
Location: Skaap river, Auas Safari lodge, Region Khomas, Namibia (2217CD)
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Saffraanbossie, Verfblommetjie, Bruinsaffraan, Bruinsaffraanbossie, Bruinsafraanbos, Geelblommetjie
English common name(s): Cape saffron
Synonym(s): Sutera atropurpurea (Benth.) Hiern
Status: Native
Description: Jamesbrittenia atropurpurea subsp. pubescens, in Afrikaans the verfblommetjie (little paint-flower) or saffraanbossie (little saffron bush), is a shrub that grows to 1 m in height. In the really arid parts of its habitat only half of that. The small, opposite leaves grow in clumps, hairy in this subspecies as the name suggests. The five-pointed star flowers are brown or orange with narrow, oblong petal lobes spreading to a diameter of 1 cm. The narrow, cylindrical corolla tube, becoming up to 2,5 cm long, has the characteristic Jamesbrittenia kink near the corolla mouth. Flowering happens in summer and autumn after rain. This species grows in clay or loam flats, slopes and ridges among scrub. The distribution ranges across the Karoo and the Kalahari in the Northern Cape, as well as Botswana and Namibia. This plant was encountered in the Northern Cape east of Kathu during December. J. atropurpurea subsp. atropurpurea also grows to the south in the Little Karoo. (from

Spindly or rounded shrublet up to c.600mm tall, young parts of stems glandular-pubescent, hairs 0.15-0.5mm long. Primary leaves 1-6.5 x 0.5-1.5mm, mostly ± oblong to subspathulate, thick-textured, acute, entire or with up to 2 pairs of small teeth near apex, upper surface glabrous or nearly so, lower surface thickly clad in glistening glands, a few glandular hairs c.0.1-0.2mm long often present on lower margins. Pediceis up to 4-18mm long, glandular-pubescent, hairs 0.15-0.5mm long.
Subsp. pubescens differs from typical J. atropurpurea in its conspicuously hairy upper stems and pedicels, which lack glistening glands. It is widespread in Botswana, and extends west-wards into Namibia (the only two specimens seen are cited above) and southwards into the northernmost Cape from roughly Upington north east to Vryburg. Most records are in and around pans, probably always on calcareous soils. The plants can become very woody and gnarled with short spreading branchlets subspinescent with age. These tough weatherbeaten and browsed bushes bear very small leaves and the specimens have frequently been misident-ified as Sutera aspalathoides and S. microphylla. (from The Manuleae: A Tribe of Scrophulariaceae by OM Hilliard, 1994)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Photographer: M Weigand
Date of photograph: 15 Jan 2020
Camera make: Panasonic
Camera model: DMC-FZ1000
Lens aperture: f/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/2000 s
ISO speed: 125
Content last updated: 06 Jul 2020

Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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Last updated 06 Jul 2020

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